Discharge Instructions:

Saliva-Based Covid-19 PCR Test

How long will it take to get my results?

You will be notified by email with your test result approximately 2-3 days after your sample is received at the lab.

What does a negative test result mean?

A negative test result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in your sample.  For COVID-19, a negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms usually means that COVID-19 did not cause your recent illness. 

However, it is possible for this test to give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative result) in some people who are either infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who have symptoms of COVID-19.  If you do have or develop symptoms of any illness, you should contact your healthcare provider, who will take into account the test results along with your symptoms and your medical history – including possible exposures, and where you have recently traveled – in deciding how to care for you.  It is important that you work with your own primary care healthcare provider to help you understand the next steps that you should take. 

A negative test result does not mean that you should stop following the current state, local and CDC guidelines for your area (which may include wearing a mask when in public or social distancing).  It may help you to make decisions about your current health and your potential risk of infecting others.  Most importantly, a negative test result does not mean that you cannot contract COVID-19 in the future.

What does a positive test result mean?

If you have a positive test result, it indicated that RNA from several genes in thee SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID 19) were detected, and that you were infected with the virus at the time that you produced the sample.  If you have a positive test result, then you are presumed to be contagious, and if you develop symptoms such as fever, coughing or shortness of breath, it is very likely that you have COVID-19.

If you develop mild symptoms, per guidance from the CDC, you should self-quarantine, meaning that you should stay home and stay as far from other people living with you as you can.  If you have symptoms, you should also get in touch with your healthcare provider, so that they can monitor your symptoms and be ready to provide care if your symptoms get worse.

What are the next steps if my test result is positive?

The next steps involve your safety and the safety of others.  It is important to stay calm and notify your manager know of your test result and get home safely. Keep your facemask on, maintain social distancing guidelines and avoid public transportation, ride sharing or taxis. 

Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care or obtain the confirmatory test. Do not visit public areas.

Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, as needed, to help you feel better.

Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.

Separate yourself from other people: As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering.

Monitor for any symptoms: Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath but other symptoms may be present as well. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.

Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

When do I seek medical attention?

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency:  notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

When can I return to work if my test result is positive?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following, but your employer may have stricter guidelines, which your employer can require you to follow:

You can leave your home and return to the workplace after these three things have happened:

  1. You have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication
  2. AND at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
  3. AND symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

Where can I go for more information?

*Revised 10/6/2020; check CDC guidelines for most up to date information